Hockey is rising in popularity around the World. Back in 1972, when the World Hockey Association was created, probably no one expected the astronomical salaries that we have today to exist. A 1 million signing bonus that Bobby Hull received from Winnipeg Jets around that time made national news. Even adjusted for inflation (A little over 6 million USD), the money is not nearly as impressive in the sport today. The days of such humble pay checks are now behind us.
While the sport may not be on the popularity level of Football and in the USA – Baseball and well, different Football, the players still make some impressive bank. The industry has seen some extremely lucrative deals over the years. It’s no coincidence that the largest deals conducted in the sport originated in the US. Here we’ll offer some of the largest deals in professional Hockey history.
The NHL strikes a deal with MGM Resorts International
Before we do, however, let’s mention an organic element of Hockey and competitive sports in general – sports betting. Internet casinos are becoming an increasingly integral part of internet entertainment. The NHL seems to be getting official with the iGaming industry. The news, unveiled late last year talks about the NHL getting more involved in the gambling processes in an indirect way.
The involvement entails a partnership with MGM Resorts International, an American-based hospitality and entertainment giant providing online entertainment and hospitality services around the World. The partnership will not see the NHL getting a percentage of the profits from gambling. Instead, the National Hockey Association will supply the entertainer with data to be used in sports betting practices. It’s unknown whether the partnership will become deeper. We don’t know the full extent of what the NHL and the gambling provider are planning together. Some in the industry speculate that soon we might see some Hockey-themed slots on websites like this https://play.casino/free-slots/ or just available through one of the game publishers.
We do know some things, however. As part of the agreement, the NHL will provide the casino giant with proprietary data that will be used to optimize the company’s betting algorithms. This is expected to lead to better and proper odds while betting.
Largest deals in Hockey history
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, 104 million USD
Sidney Crosby is widely hailed as the best player in the league. The Tom Brady of Hockey scored 56 points in 36 matches in the 2012-2013 season. Once his health was cleared by doctors, Crosby netted 104 points and 36 goals over the duration of 80 matches the next season. However, all good things come to an end. The 104,4 million dollar contract is likely his last NHL deal, as he’ll be 37 by the time the 12-year contract expires. But with a salary like that, Crosby shouldn’t be wanting for money anytime soon.
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators, 110 million USD
This is a tricky one. Technically, the money for this contract wasn’t supposed to come from the Predators. Philadelphia Flyers were the ones who offered Weber the insane sum of 110 million over 14 years. However, Nashville wasn’t letting Weber go. Not after they had to say goodbye to Suter after he left them for Minnesota Wild in 2012. They didn’t hesitate to give Weber a raise and offered to match the contract terms the Flyers were offering him. We don’t know whether this was the right choice to make in retrospect. But it was made and it will earn Shea Weber an insane amount of money over the following years.
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, 124 million USD
Washington Capitals buying Alex Ovechkin is the single most money paid for a player in the history of NHL. What makes the landmark deal even more impressive is the fact that Ovechkin wasn’t represented by anyone. This means that the man didn’t have to pay anyone salaries and cuts from the deal. The 13 year-long contract will see Ovechkin don the Capitals colours and try to be worth the amazing salary he’s getting paid.